Posts Tagged ‘musician’


You’ve probably never heard of this particular Charles Dickinson, but it’s likely that you are familiar with his wife. In 1853, Dickinson was a musician in a traveling variety show, and he married one of the actresses, born Harriet Wood, but known to history as Pauline Cushman. Dickinson and his bride eventually returned to his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, where he found work as a music teacher. The couple lived with Dickinson’s parents and had two children, Charlie and Ida. At the end of 1861, Dickinson enlisted as a musician and marched off to the Civil War. In less than a year, he was discharged home in extremely poor health. He expired almost exactly a year after his enlistment. Cushman left her children with her husband’s family and resumed her acting career. Not long after, the opportunity presented itself to become a spy for the Union Army. Once she was discovered to be a spy and narrowly escaped execution, Cushman continued to travel the lecture circuit talking about her exploits. She was not present when either of her children by Dickinson died. The rift between Cushman and her first husband’s family, who resented what they considered her abandonment of her maternal duties, never healed.

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Rick James

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The last weekend in June I had the privilege of experiencing a portion of the Woodland Cemetery Living History Tour. The temperature exceeded 90 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity fluctuated unpleasantly for part of the afternoon, but it was still a marvelous experience. I’ll be sharing some of the photos and stories in more depth later, but I wanted to “introduce” you to some of Woodland’s residents that I met.

Alvina Plastine was a Cleveland grocery store owner who died in 1913. The location of her burial is known, but there is no grave marker for her.

Alvina Plastine

The extended Dickinson family at Woodland were represented by the parents of James Dickinson, a Civil War veteran and Cleveland Fire Chief, and his niece and nephew.



Musician Heinrich Beck described his education and endeavors in Cleveland.


A number of residents were represented by people dressed in the clothes of their period or figures not buried at Woodland with them.

Harry Handerson was a Confederate soldier in the Civil War who later returned to his birthplace in Cleveland. He was a respected doctor and medical historian who died in 1918. This lady told us about his life.


Clara Barton told of her friendship with General John Elwell, who is buried in Woodland Cemetery.

Clara Barton

A Civil War soldier told us about George Ryan and all of the members of the 5th USCT (United States Colored Troops) buried in Woodland, as well as all the regiments.


I didn’t get to visit with all the volunteers before the end of the day rolled around, but I appreciated the time and energy they put into the living history display. I look forward to visiting them in the future.

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